Our culture and our cultural values influence how we relate to others, our outlook on life, and our priorities. Where we work has a culture of its own, and it is important that we feel comfortable with the cultural values of our workplace. Understanding your own culture and that of where you would like to work can help you make good career change choices.
Peoples’ personal culture begins early in life and results from relationships with their family and the community in which they grew up. This includes the parent’s social-economic status, behaviors, and their attitudes about many aspects of their lives. Their community’s norms, customs, and ethnicity also affect their values.
Working in a place with cultural diversity can be very enlightening and rewarding. Seeing the interplay of peoples’ backgrounds working together for the common good is great for the work environment. Also, working alongside with people of different cultures can help us grow as people. But it is our common cultural values that bind us and help us be productive together, no matter how many cultures are represented in our work team.
Think about your life. Yes, you have changed, and you have moved on from some of the culture in which you were raised. But some vestiges of your cultural values probably remain with you today. Can you think of any? There could be many, but you may not be aware of them.
Other important considerations about an organization’s culture are its pace, interplay of its values, decision-making processes, and treatment of employees or members. These affect how an organization relates to the world and the dynamics of its operations.
Organizations in the same fields can have different cultures. For instance, an organization that manages wealthy people’s money usually have a thoughtful, long-term approach with responsibility and continuity being important. People in this organization will be measured, courteous, and collaborative. Yet another financial organization that has high risk/high returns as its objective could emphasize risk taking and rapid-paced, short-term, focused decision making. Here the people might be abrupt, profane, and competitive. Every organization is unique.
When you have the same values as those with whom you work, you will be productive and do what is right for your colleagues. They, in turn, will want to help you because its common ground, it is all part of the company’s cultural values. A win-win for all.
Develop your thoughts about your personal culture and cultural values.
- Identify the culture of your parents and the community in which you grew up.
- Determine what is now your personal culture.
- Identify the cultural values of where you want to work.